This Mirror Ain’t Big Enough for The Both of Us

In my previous life, I was a loss prevention detective for a large big box retailer.

I’d tell you of my exploits but that just seems both a waste of time and also like a million years ago.

The key thing to remember is that during the three years I held that position, I faced some pretty harrowing things.

I had a crackhead with a blade in his pocket.

Another had a stashed needle in his coat.

Another was trying to spit blood at me and my coworkers.

I was bulldozed by a fifteen year old girl who kicked me in the head as she ran. (not my finest moment)

I wrestled a teenage girl to the ground after flying over a railing.

In short, I did alot of weird things that looking back on it was both an adrenaline rush, ill advised, super risky and very dangerous. A superhero for a company that doesn’t remember I was even there. Brave bold and stupid, you know?

So why is it when it comes to talking to co-workers I have no spine?

When I look at the things I’ve been able to do, a lot of it was just because I had to turn off my brain and just say fuck it. Anxiety is debilitating as is depression and the combination feels a lot like being punched repeatedly in the face and making the most of a busted lip. I’ve done my very best to stay optimistic despite everything and have done a fairly good job of it (previous readers will probably recall the meltdowns and other crisis I’ve been too public in discussing) but when it comes to tackling things like basic social and human interactions…

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It’s gotten to the point where I will play a conversation and the variations thereof to make sure that A) I don’t sound like a fucking imbecile and B) that I convey my point effectively and not at all like an asshat.

I realize, that it’s all because I’m in the middle of my own head worried about how other people see me and both outcomes result entirely on how big or small an asshole I look. It’s about me, people. It’s about me not being a fucking pussy. It’s about me being the person I wanted to be but also not feeling like a second class hand me down waste of space you know?

I will sit and overanalyze and things won’t get done and then I’ll vex and obsess about why things are not working out for me because I am spineless and in my own way.

My heroes are not spineless or in their own way.

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they have shotguns and fashion sense

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Round killing things and fashion sense

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Pointy things and fashion sense

SO.

How does one get out of their own head and grow a spine?

You just do it.

I think back on how I was fighting motherfuckers over stuff that wasn’t mine (stolen merchandise and the no bonus you get in recovering it) like a rabid panda and I wonder where did she go? Where is that guy when you’re trying to talk to someone about making adjustments on a project that is a seemingly easy fix but you’re so busy trying to not sound like you’re incompetent that you basically wind up mumbling and stuttering and coming off exactly like your worst fear. I think back on how confident I was telling a shoplifter that I didn’t want to send them to jail and that they needed to be honest about the number of times they’d stolen things. How much twisted fun the people I worked with had being low level toy cop assholes to people. That guy, that guy was pretty boss. Somewhere between surviving and thriving I lost my nerve. I wound up leaving that job and suddenly all of that changed. My spine curved. My internal monologue became a massive long diatribe narrating the worst things about me and the reasons why I couldn’t possibly that good anymore, especially if I couldn’t work that gig.

Probably didn’t help that around the same time that happened about a few months later I was broken up with (maybe even almost immediately after I don’t remember) disaster lumps itself in threes so the entire thing was just a total dismantling of myself as a human.

I’ve never felt more destroyed than when all of that happened. Okay maybe there were a few other times but c’mon fam…it’s like how many times can a person take L after L?

 

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but I really don’t think he lost

You’ve read the past posts so I won’t rehash the past but it was hard. It was scrapping and scraping and doing things that needed to be done to get things done. It wasn’t always easy but then again nothing ever is. I lost a lot of myself,  and was still chasing after something that (looking at it now) wasn’t going to happen but when you’ve got

2016 is about getting that nerve back.

It’s not without it’s bumps, bruises, ebbs and flows.

I’m trying to do this new thing where I accept that I’m really only capable of doing the best that I can but let’s be honest who the hell has the mental and emotional fortitude to believe in all that bullshit anyhow?

2016 is about getting that nerve back. I keep saying it. It’s popped up once or twice, the straighter spine, the conviction in statements and execution of tasks and the feeling of victory is fleeting but I hang onto it because well, rainy days stay happening and you always need an umbrella and shiny lights to keep you from losing your mind.

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The wild thing is that I’ve done so much since I’ve been where I am and that in it of itself is an amazing thing. What I’m trying to do though, is be excellent and I keep getting in my own way trying to be excellent. Can I stay out of my own way? Maybe maybe not. I guess the best advice is to just know that I’m going to be standing in front of myself which means I’m chasing me and that means that there is a version of me that’s pretty advanced and moving at the speed of light so I’m doing things the right way.

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I’m really hypnotized by this

Confidence is a thing that doesn’t come easily, not anymore. It’s actually pretty sad because there was a time in my life where I was real fucking arrogant bastard but that was because I really hadn’t any equals. A God complex without ever really thinking about where that came from and just like that it was gone. I could spend a whole boring ass post analyzing it all but let’s face it, we’d get nowhere and you’d get bored and I’d run out of gifs to entertain you.

In the quest to find confidence or find steel in my spine, I’ve been trying everything and anything. I’ve started changing my wardrobe up enough to look cooler or at least vaguely resemble someone in touch with reality as opposed to my actual aesthetic; hats, tee shirt and sneakers I bought pretty cheap on a binge shopping run. Ironically enough, this is the actual look and feel that everyone who is cool tends to embody, I just look like a fucking idiot.

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and yet Martin Starr is a dreamboat now

I’ve learned so far that I really am just trying to get by. I’m coping with a mother who’s sick, a job that’s both rewarding and frustrating, a family that’s getting by and a relationship that’s starting to be something and a tattoo collection that needs to get up and on with it’s bad self. I’ve learned that by trying to alter myself I get farther and farther away from me but then again, I wind up back at square one.

SO.

The spine thing.

The trick is to live recklessly. You’re going to fuck up, you’re going to fuck up super hard and you’re going to fuck up often. You’re going to say stupid things, wear stupid things, act like an airhead and you’re going to be the biggest idiot for an hour or two but you will never be that for the rest of your life. You will solve all the problems, be the solution and save all the boxes of kittens in burning down houses. Why?

Because you’re a goddamned superhero.

You’re not as bad as you think you are and for the most part, even if you are, you’re not that terrible. You’re the amalgamation of a series of strange occurrances that had to happen in order for to be here. You have to 1000000% remind yourself that while other people are uncomfortable with you’ve got to live with yourself and I guess that’s really what it’s all about.

I think alot about the way that I started out and how an extraordinary a machine I am, banged up bruised and battered (basically I’m the Millennium Falcon) from everything and still keep going. That’s really thing thing. You have to be confident in your mileage, in your ability to survive, in your ability to adapt and even if you don’t look like much, you’ve still got it where it counts.

Maybe that’s really the whole point. I’m just going along and seeing what happens as it happens, conquering things in my own way. I still miss the person I used to be and I want to be the more improved version of that person.

For all I know, I already am.

What I Learned: October 10

This week, I return to my comic book roots, get optimistic about text messages and try to not lose my head.

Last week was pretty busy and I’ve noticed that I’ve completely lost control

Previously:

After driving round in the rain yesterday and finding two action figures and buying two bluray movies at Target while hoping that Waffle would reconsider saying yes to me and a rainy joyride, I wind up at my brother’s house to deliver passes for NYCC. The college trip to Howard is cancelled thanks to the looming disaster that is Hurricane Joaquin and I’m allowed to sleep in a little bit, which, given how badly I’ve been sleeping is basically like being given a golden ticket.

Saturday:

I’m up early for no good reason other than I’m now waking up before my alarm clock. Either because I’m not sleeping right or because I know the sounds of shitty top 40 radio enrages me more than the braying sound the alarm makes so to avoid being cranky, I just wake up.

I’m feeling more and more tired as of late and it’s due to large part that my brain is screaming at me about the sleep thing and the fact that I’m just working nearly every day. The funny thing is that I’m also PAINFULLY aware of how close New York Comic Con is and all I want to do is spend time with Waffle in the confines of the smelly aisles of the Javitz Center because in my head I’ve made it my mission to win that heart back and I think that Stockholm Syndrome is a legitimate means of making someone fall back in love with you.

it worked for these two right?

I head to work and get in early enough to walk and watch something on Netflix before settling into an awkward work flow where we all want to be somewhere else and debate the merits of covering the Chik-Fil-A opening.

Mostly for science because supposedly it’s the greatest chicken ever but I feel a little weird wanting to try chicken as supplied by hyper religious bigots who would sooner throw said chicken at me for being bisexual.

I have fast hands and would catch it and eat it with joy but also that’s too much work.

Either way, we finish and walk over to see what the fuss is about and let me tell you, it’s a mile long line, no exaggeration.

I wind up getting Wendys.

BECAUSE THAT IS FUCKING DELICIOUS.

Sunday:

Sunday is much nicer weather wise than Saturday or Friday.

It might also be because I got an early morning text message from Waffle.

It’s sickening how my mood, my entire brain chemistry changes once I get a message from her; it’s almost as if I could take on the entire world with an arm strapped to my back, win and be home in time for Once Upon A Time with Waffle and chill. This kind of thing can kill me. In any case I enthusiastically answer the text with the kind of eagerness that basically is embarrassing.

Tramp Stamp

So we agree sorta to meet after work which mercifully goes by quickly.

Netflix and chill is not to be.

Waffle basically slept the entire day away.

I’m not crushed so much as I saw it coming because I’m pretty good at predicting that kind of thing. Either way, the little tingle still lingers.

I wind up doing laundry, eating a sandwich and watching last week’s Grey’s Anatomy On Demand. I wind up making gagging noises while Callie flexes on Arizona and her ‘new girlfriend’.

legit my OTP fight me

It’s like, c’mon man, fucking support the love and just…fix it.

FUCKKKKK.

They let all the other trash OTPs get atleast fifteen sporting shots before one of them dies or something Shondalandy happens. Callie goes through a fucking windshield, delivers her premie baby, survives heart failure and physical therapy, MARRIES Arizona who then loses her leg in a plane crash THEN cheats on Callie THEN buy a house together then…

the fuck man?!

Love works somehow in all of this and then they’re like, nah they’re good let them date other people.

My skin crawls.

it’s like no one knows what goes into being that open or vulnerable with humans. They’re awful. They’ll maim you. I believe that love works like a stronger friendship. I call you bro. My best friend. Not because I don’t respect you or don’t love you. You’re the best friend I have. Everyone else is trash.

Anyways. I continue with laundry and prepare myself to throw socks at the TV during Once Upon a Time.

Once Upon a Time and let me tell you…

If they’re not angling Regina and Emma together, they need to tell the production staff because for fuck’s sake, you don’t romcom zoom and light two people who are supposed to be plutonic bros. I mean if you casually cruise the Tumblr tags, it’s basically going to make you a believer.

also I just happen to think that chemistry is something you can’t fight.

PLUS.

They’re totally bros. They watch out for each other in ways that other people don’t.  It’s fuckin’ beautiful.

In anycase, I wind up watching that, getting caught in the feels and watching Fear the Walking Dead.

Then I get another text.

We wind up talking throughout the episode and I gotta say (I also have to admit that I know you’re probably reading this and if you are, well, hi.) it’s still a really nice feeling. I’m still optimistic as hell as evidenced by the most vivid dream I’ve had in a long time that only makes me feel like the universe is listening and for that, I’m thankful.

Monday:

The world is a blur and I’m told I have an insane task to pull off. Plan a massive field trip, plan an NBA interview, chase after Jack Hanna and his people for paperwork and keep my wits about me while balancing multiple shoots on one day.

It all falls into place somehow.

Tuesday:

I honestly don’t remember what happened but there was candy and everyone was happy about that.

Wednesday:

I’m in Brooklyn working on this project and I’m wandering the halls of the a government building and I can’t help but wonder if in another life, could I have actually gone into politics.

Nah.

I live in my head.

We have a great conversation about art and gentrification and I hope that I can find the brain power to really put together something dynamic.

In the meantime, two other shoots go off and I have to pat myself on the back for not completely melting down while exchanging confusing text messages about the status of comic con passes that have suddenly come up as available.

I’m good at multitasking I really am, I may be short circuiting a little because I can’t even come up with a good enough logical answer so I tuck my phone in my pocket and work work work.

I leave at 9.

I get home and watch TV and color. Yes. An adult coloring book works wonders. I have a decent talk with Waffle and for some reason, all the ghosts of the past drift into my mind and I’m immediately reminded that despite the petty arguments and sniping, we’re two people overworked, decently paid and sexless. I wonder if trying to diffuse the tension would help or only throw gasoline onto an already raging nuclear aftermath that is our lives. At this point, given my ranting on Sunday about OUAT all I want to do is find a goddamned happy ending.

Thursday:

Emergency packing and lunching for what will be the best weekend ever.

BUT FIRST.

Jack Hanna planning.

Friday:

Special edition.

What I Learned: August 21

This week, I get my cowgirl on (not in that way) and wrangle up some coworkers for micro tour of New York, get some damn fine barbecue in Brooklyn and discover that the joys of running and gunning is only as good as the subject you’re shooting.

Monday:

Starts with a groan since I’m convinced I overslept and continues with a WHAT THE FAK as the trains decide, ‘girl, you’re not going to go no place on time today’ I arrive to one of the cooler venues to shoot in, The YouTube Studios and do my very best to not cartwheel all around the place. (I can’t do cartwheels so it’s fairly easy to do) I’ve booked a guy who’s basically the shrunken stocky version of John Lequizamo as our driver for the day and that basically means, you’re gonna have a good time.

We’ve packed in all the talent into one studio space and they’re basically the goofiest group of mixed gender kids that I’ve encountered. It’s like S Club 7 without the British accents…sigh…I miss SC7.

I’ve no idea what happened to them (this is also not my group)

We pile into a fifteen passenger van like a bunch of exhausted school kids and head off to a space in Brooklyn that’s covered in artwork, some of which is related to the group that I’m working on my first production documentary on. It’s kinda magical how all of these lives and strings start threading together the way they have. From there, we shuttle to another place that’s lowkey nice and do another round of photos and some people do some power napping.

For someone who theoretically had 8 hours of sleep and is currently running on hour 12 by the time we wrap, I’m feeling ok.

I’m also off the next two days and when you have that kind of luck, you really wanna go all out y’know?

We wind up at Mabels for dinner and have a massive family style barbecue sitdown where I discover that I have serious maternal issues; I kept making sure everyone was eating, watered and taken care of before shoveling atleast a pound of various meats in my face. (Pause)

It should be mentioned that I wound up squaring up various bills and tabs, signing off on various pieces of paper and getting a free shot of whisky because I took care of our one bartender and the manager was super delighted with my automatic running around like a chicken with my head cut off tendencies.

There’s still tons of food left and I’m EXACTLY the type of person to ask for doggy bags and boxes. I ultimately pack up two large boxes of ribs, pulled pork, cole slaw, mac and cheese and some potatoes. I SAT ON THE TRAIN ON MY WAY HOME LIKE A BOSS with my food because…

Why not?

Tuesday:

I stay home, eat some leftovers with mom and process the paperwork from the night before. I am nothing if not completely obsessive and slightly workaholical. I go to the gym for once and manage to impress myself by not being too winded or flabby. I am however, exhausted and cut it short. I go home and get into a text talk with Waffle and it sounds like dinner was going to happen but I fall asleep for four hours and wake up to a ‘I’m going to work, talk to you later text’

you used to call me on my cell phone

Wednesday:

I decide today’s the day that I’m going to treat myself and I wind up going to the movies…and comic books. BUT FIRST. Let me look like a human female and get my eyebrows done. I wind up on Union Square, fraught with memories because I brought Waffle there all the time and it always sucks to do something when you know it’s much more fun with someone else. I go see Ant-Man which is pretty funny and enjoyable and for god’s sake would you look at Hayley Motherfuckin Atwell as Agent Carter in 1989.

stop being so awesome you savage

If I may…

Hayley Atwell is one of those people that’s just naturally charming and strange enough to make you wonder why God would be so cruel as to make a person witty, generous and hot. I mean there are goddesses and there’s this woman.

Shakin my head.

Anyways. I wind up not buying any comic books (I get them through Comixology) and pick up a Doctor Strange shirt because let’s face it, this guy is the gnarliest of the Marvel superheroes because he’s basically a creep magician.

I like that shit.

Thursday:

Did you know the thirst for Yeezy Boosts is real?

Did you know that raffle contests are the cause of passion and dedication?

Did you know that I spent five hours in the middle of a heatwave working on an internet banger?

The more you know.

The fun part of it was both of us were walking around looking for Adidas sneakers in Nike kicks.

I’m no hype beast but I gotta tell you, them kids are dedicated and for a moment, I almost caught the fever.

i need to go the gym. seriously.

When I get back, I get info on another shoot tomorrow afternoon. It’s in Connecticut with a major sneaker designer…and Nikki Bella.

Friday:

So this is where the week felt like a lifetime of experiences in one day. I start super early because, like I said, my personal life is a mess and I’m late to places but my professional life is as close to decent and timely as possible. At the start of the afternoon I’m told “It’s a Chevy Tahoe.”

I’m 5’7.

I’m not a Tahoe sized person.

I started to call myself an Uber

We load in for a fun-filled road trip to CT, where the app Waze (I’ve named her Laura) gets us from NYC to location and we spend time in a sneaker head’s fantasy.

I also take a rare selfie and hold the Diva’s championship belt while wearing a Xena shirt.

THE DIVAS’ BELT

DIVAS

BELT

XENA
SHIRT.

Video’s coming soon.

I may have also missed on an opportunity to go to SummerSlam.

*sobbing*

I get back to the city, swap gear and prepare for the next day: the Billboard Hot 100 Fest.

In. Jones. Beach.

There are times where I feel like I can do anything and other times where I’m like, ‘shit shit shit’ and just go with it. These are the times where I’m glad to be where I am and even more impressed that I’ve done what I have done in what feels like a matter of seconds. I have a hard time processing things because I unpack but the real take away is that I’ve really achieved something that borders on insane.

I spent a lot of time watching TV with strong characters and want badly to be like them because I’m just that kind of girl. I pulled a lot of inspiration and strength from them because they were role models that I needed and still need. I have to know that what I’m doing matters; what I’ve accomplished is important and that I’ve been delivering on what I’ve been tasked to do. I’ve been told I’m a warrior, I feel like I fight a dozen wars and I want to make this life truly something impressive. I just want to feel like I’ve done something and as of late, I’ve been scratching at that.

I just want to ease the anxiety and accept things for what they are.

Wondrously strange collection of experiences.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

What I Learned: August 14

This week, I spend time in Tarrytown in a rental car listening to trap music, complete the lap that made me almost weep, learn that technology is not your friend and that being a workaholic is a better substitute for alcohol.

Saturday:

I’m up with the birds and armed with Apple Maps (which, fuck you by the way) I climb into rented Ford Focus and feel like I’m in a jet because I’m doing checks like a pilot. I have about 120,000 songs on an iPod and wind up listening to of all things…Fall Out Boy. Don’t judge me, it beat the radio at 7am.

It’s true what they say about driving, your mind completely blanks out and you focus more on piloting a massive machine through highways built years before you were a thought by people who didn’t think those roads would even be traveled for as long as they have been.

You get super philosophical.

I find parking relatively easy at 7:30am (I was in traffic to boot and DIDN’T drag race once it cleared up…) and run upstairs to make sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be. Again. My personal life, total shitshow, professional life sorta put together.

The team shows up and we load in for our epic journey to the most magical place on earth: the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown NY. While on the way, we encounter the fail that is Apple Maps.

Have you ever driven in near circles in the middle of a scenic part of a town and immediately think, we’re a car full of minorities, isn’t this is how horror movies start?

drive faster

I watch too many movies.

Anyways. We make a few turns and wind up where we’re supposed to be…fuck you Apple Maps…sincerely.

I’m about 5’7 which in the WNBA makes me a guard and probably a decent prospect; in the NBA that makes me the water girl. We arrive and check in and walk into the Liberty side of the basketball court.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been there before but I still kinda swoon because that’s what I do.

We land some hilarious interviews and shoot what could be the hit of our mini summer vacation.

We climb back into the car, strangely inspired by the entire day (it was two hours that felt like less than that which is saying something) get 5 Napkin Burgers (which is a miracle) and pile into the office for a late shift.

Sunday:

Even if you want to play a game of treat yo self, you still wind up being incredibly responsible and climb into the fray super early and with a box of bagels for your mom. You also want nothing more than to get another win in terms of getting that date to happen.

The date doesn’t happen.

The sobbing continues.

On the upside, we get two great videos lined up and good to go and I land another byline for work.

I learned that I have to master the art of multitasking.

Also. John Wick is awesome.

Adrienne Palicki, Bridget Reagan and Keanu Reeves carrying guns and being complete assholes. this is basically porn.

Monday:

Screaming matches over stupid things are always fun.

Driving around late at night is even more fun.

I tackled the FDR to the West Side Highway and like a superhero, sat and listened to Kid Cudi wondering about what the hell life is doing with me and my fate these days. I miss the opportunity to get Waffle for a drive around because Waffle being Waffle kept being Waffle and wiffled on me. I was tempted to be a creeper and sit in the car outside waiting but decided that I can’t keep reeking of desperation. The fact that Waffle would’ve gotten in the car with me for fun while I said nothing and blasted music and driven around until drop off at work. These are the things that make me feel all kinds of funny to be honest. I learned that I should just trust my lack of impulse control when it comes to these kinds of situations. Especially when I want to share views like this. IMG_2932

My drive looked nothing like this but I did in fact blast Steve Aoki, so I guess you could say, we were on track.

Tuesday:

So I had rum and cokes.

Wednesday:

Multitasking is multi-taxing but it’s done and honestly, I keep telling myself, I was unemployed last year. Stop bitching so fucking much.

I mean it’s one thing to be overwhelmed and completely burned out but it’s a whole other level if you’re completely like…miserable.

I can’t be miserable.

My brain can’t process that correctly.

My brain shorts out actually.

I know I’m due for a meltdown but I’m also due for an upgrade so I guess you have to burn things down to build something new from it.

I wind up in Jim Hanley’s Universe and have rather interesting conversations about some of the plot fuck ups in X-Factor (which I have admittedly not been keeping up with) but apparently, it’s a big nasty soap opera. I love the fact that out of many of the shops that I’ve been to, this is the only one that actively keeps you in the store with shit talk and comic gossip rather than aisle after aisle of things to look at and maybe consider buying. There’s a strange comfort in the nerd herd. Unsurprisingly, I pick up a bunch of titles that will take me until NEXT WEEK, to read but fuck it, I mean it’s what happens when you work; you get to do things you love.

One day I will write and work for Marvel.

It’s on the list of things to do before I die.

So’s a trip to London.

Fuck it, let’s do both.

Thursday:

Accomplished many a thing, including successfully feeding myself at a decent hour, addressing stuff and things and planning planning planning.

I wound up getting a preview screening pass to see Straight Outta Compton through work which was sweet. It’s insane that all this happened in my lifetime and I’ve basically grown up with this music; I lived through the of many anti-establishment movements fueled by music and made by people who just wanted their voices heard and the vision to just make shit happen. That doesn’t work anymore does it? That unyielding sense of success and self confidence that is needed to take what sounds like a failing idea or a longshot and make it actually happen. Think about it. Ice Cube was the hardest rapper in the game (still is) at the time and just transitioned because he just wanted to do it. Dre just wanted to make music that didn’t suck and E just had the momentum to bring everyone together. It’s probably one of the best made music biopics and some of the moments that happen made me oddly nostalgic for the time where my mom said I couldn’t listen to Metallica, NWA, Public Enemy and when she caught on, The Beastie Boys. Kids aren’t told ‘that’s bad for you’ and if they are, they don’t give a flying fuck. Go see it, it’s worth it.

It’s also creepy how damn near EXACT O’Shea Jackson Jr. resembles his father.

Best cosplay ever.

Friday:

For Whom The Bell Tolls indeed.

In on time despite a late start, doing a bunch of things for the next three days and eagerly anticipating…I dunno…a small moment to think, read a comic book and do more writing because I owe some people some of my letters rearranged into words.

Friday:

I had a salad. That’s not interesting until you realize and understand that my fat ass wants a burger and booze and to be left alone with Waffle on a romantic dinner date where all we do is talk shit and laugh at things.

I’m seeking a gal pal at this point.

An Angie to my  Peggy.

A Sandy to my Danny.

A Laura to my Carmilla.

Basically I’m just rehashing old feelings.

The weekend should be spectacular. Stay tuned.

Why Visibility Matters

imvisible peggy

The above is a gif from the Agent Carter episode “Sin To Err” where while under arrest, Peggy basically lays into her SSR coworkers and tells them to fuck off and die.

Ok maybe not but she should’ve because that’s the show I’ve made up in my head.

In the episode, she highlights the bigger problem in the real world where women weren’t useful once the world was done with them, the other (LGTB, disabled people of color) were undesirable and accepting that fate was all you can do. On a larger scale, Peggy’s entire dismantling of her peers and supervisor reflects the current trend in comics, movies and television where the invisible are no longer content with being unseen and have taken matters into their own hands with incredible results. Last week, following the splintering of the Spiderverse, comic book readers were treated to various launches of an army of Spider people, Spider-Gwen (the resurrected Gwen Stacey) Silk (the first Asian-American Spiderwoman Cindy Moon) and the continuation of biracial fan favorite Miles Morales. They contend with Peter’s existing foes, their own personal problems and the ramifications of Peter’s actions leading up to their own journeys as part of the Spiderclan. These characters reflect the readers who’ve been buying comics for years; we aren’t all white boys who live in our parent’s basement playing World of Warcraft with limited communication skills.

Some of us are Puerto Rican women who live at home, work, play video games, have active social lives and run hilarious tumblr accounts.

Some of us are African American girls who’ve grown up drawing our favorite anime characters in the margins of our math homework.

These characters are the people who read their stories and it couldn’t be more amazing time to be a nerd who reads funny books.

Another practical outfit

 

A practical outfit

fuck yeah you are Miles

We need these images in popular culture so that we know we count, we matter, we exist in the world. A reader from last night’s post pointed out that comics were created by xenophobic men in a time where racial tensions were high and that it’s important that these things change. (hi by the way!) It totally is.

Consider, IF the creators of the classics were so xenophobic, racist and misogynistic as we believe them to be, then we wouldn’t have Jean Grey or Janet Van Dyne as founding members of one of the longest lasting super teams in comics (X-Men and The Avengers respectively). Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) wouldn’t represent the other the way he does. Storm wouldn’t have been a super powered god. Wonder Woman was actually designed as a feminist icon, by a man, years before the movement was widely adapted. Comic books allowed progressive minded individuals an outlet to create an idealized world, a world of diversity (admittedly limited, Black Panther was steeped in racial tropes while Wonder Woman suffered years in weird bondage and fetish tropes) and where anyone could be a hero. It was seen as an idealized childhood medium, something that entertained kids for 10 cents but opened their eyes to the possibility of something more.

That need to see yourself reflected in your programming and entertainment is universal. It can change your world view, the way you see yourself and put you on a new path.

Because she saw Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek

 

Last night, Once Upon a Time launched season 4B and the dialogue between the widely shipped duo of Regina Mills (Evil Queen) and Emma Swan (The Savior) sounded like it was taken out of the pages of a femslash fan fiction entry. Swan Queen, as the shippers have dubbed them, sent the fan base into a frenzy with heart eyes and what seemed to be less than plutonic touches. Why does it matter that in 2015, two women are more than friends? Because there are lesbians and bisexual women in the world who need to know that they matter, that their feelings are valid and that television won’t shy away from these feelings.

first of all how dare you

 

second of all how dare you also

please tag your hair and outfit porn

(gifs taken from The Queen And Her Sheriff)

While the above relationship isn’t canon (as in, active relationship) their dynamic reads verbatim from every classic rom com trope ever conceived, making Swan Queen shippers point out that had Emma been Emmett she and Regina would’ve been married by now. Sorta like how Caskett (Richard Castle and Kate Beckett) are ultra super canon and solving murders of the week like the couple on Hart To Hart. They are right to demand some kind of gay or lesbian representation about finding your happy ending because the visibility of women who express themselves romantically is limited to sweeps, slow ratings or fan fiction; mainstream television will showcase a lead as a gay or lesbian character and saddle them with a tired coming out story, homophobic family or wind up dead. On cable, the diversity is higher and LGBTQ characters aren’t as marginalized but let’s face it, cable doesn’t give a fuck. Notable same sex canon as hell pairings include Root and Shaw (Person of Interest) Clarke and Lexa (The 100) Brittany and Santana (Glee) Callie and Arizona (Grey’s Anatomy) and while they’re on network TV, there was a massive push by Clexa, Root X Shaw and Brittana shippers to make the pairing happen. The writers built the arcs in to see what would happen, essentially queer baiting an audience who otherwise may not have watched the show up until they saw someone who was like them on screen. Queer baiting is a mean trick but it also shows that someone in the writers room is trying to make change happen. They want to make a part of their audience seen on screen, seen as normally as they see everyone else.

Calzona fans…well…you guys…I mean…*ugly cries* They’re gonna work out.

Starz original series Black Sails had the pairing of Max and Eleanor (now Max and Anne Bonney) universally feared pirate Captain Flynt was revealed as gay (I’d argue bisexual but, whatever) in the same way they happily discuss murder and rum. IT IS A NON ISSUE. Network makes the argument that if someone is an other they have to have a long rough journey to acceptance. Black Sails argues that being a pirate is tough, who you sleep with is irrelevant. Unless they can be used as leverage in which case they don’t give a shit if it’s a man or a woman. Spartacus featured same sex couples as regularly as they featured the bloody arena fight of the week.

Why does this matter when we have cable? It matters because having cable or satellite isn’t the answer to solving the visibility crisis, creators who are eager to tell the story are and outlets willing to tell them. It’s still a television show that is widely embraced by the nation, it still has the power to reach to millions of people in a way that people who may want answers or have questions. It may rot your brain but it also asks you to look deeper, to understand and to learn more.

I have cable.

The Swan Queen pairing sticks out because the fandoms that support Emma with Captain Hook (Captain Swan) and Regina with Robin Hood (Outlaw Queen) have verbally attacked SQ shippers for their want of a same-sex paring. They have taken to social media and bombarded the cast with their homophobic rhetoric while harassing fans online with some of the most childish tirades about why ‘their ship is stupid’. Super eloquent. They’ve seen what change can do and it’s terrifying to them, proof that the invisible is being seen and heard. It sticks out because it’s the story of two women, who from the beginning seem completely at odds with one another, much in the way two mismatched leads are thrown together then suddenly work like magic (PUNS!) when needed.

The closest SQ and LGBTQ fans got to a possible lesbian pairing was  Mulan’s blossoming feelings for Princess Aurora (Sleeping Warrior) which was quickly swept under the rug (also aired during sweeps HA!) when Aurora revealed she was pregnant and in response Mulan ran off to the forest never to be heard from again. Which is why visibility matters; an LGBTQ individual struggling to identify themselves in the world will find something within the lines of the dialogue, in the scenes, in the story and find comfort that their feelings aren’t wrong. They need to see themselves the way other people see themselves regularly.

Aurora, asking the tough questions

 

Mulan giving life.

(gifs from Pirate and Savior)

The Walking Dead has been taking more and more cues from their source material with season with the introduction of gay couple Eric and Aaron in last week’s episode. Naturally, Twitter erupted with collective vomiting noises at the sight of the two men kissing after being reunited.

from issue 72 of The Walking Dead

Nevermind that the book has been out for ten plus years, that the cast is as racially diverse as it’s been for the most part (I miss you Ty…not so much you Bob but that’s a whole other post) The crew thus far consists of a lesbian in Tara Chambler (who’s girlfriend for 2.2 seconds was shot in the head by a 10 year old sociopath, natch) former lawyer turn samurai Michonne, the survivor GAWD Glenn Rhee and Army Reservist Rosita; a rag tag group of pan ethnic survivors killing walkers without questioning loyalties and somehow managing to stay together.  The THOUGHT that two men could still be together riding shitshow zombie wave with comfort makes you sick I just…I can’t. In last night’s episode, the ‘mayor’ of the survivor colony Alexandria is a woman named Deanna Monroe; in the book it’s a black man named Douglas Monroe. A quick gender swap (fascinating) but still worth noting because the fact that leadership experience is valued over gender is important. The last time the crew met with male leaders of similar sounding utopias one was a cannibal and the other was a maniac hellbent on revenge.

LET ME REPEAT: A SHOW THAT HAD A BABY IN PERIL, NEARLY RAPED A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD BOY, HAS ZOMBIE KILL OF THE WEEK AND ROUTINELY COVERS IT’S CHARACTERS IN BLOOD DREW THE IRE OF IDIOTS EVERYWHERE WHEN TWO DUDES KISSED.

This is why diversity matters, why seeing version of other people’s lives matter, why seeing someone you’ve never seen before is important; if you never leave your house, never leave your town or your state, your next best thing is living vicariously through the entertainment. Consider how many states have passed same sex marriage. Some of the change was caused by seeing positive and inclusive characters in a show; they weren’t demons or deviants, they were just people trying to live their lives.

What was once invisible, taboo, dangerous is now being demanded, asked for, created and supplied by consumers and creatives alike. When you have the opportunity to see yourself reflected in the screen in front of you, in the pages before you, in the images around you, you find a form of confidence, comfort, joy and worth that other people take for granted. Many people take their own lives because they are invisible, they are told they do not matter, they aren’t desired in the world.Comic books, movies, tv shows, books can dramatically change that for a person just because they saw themselves in the lines and pages, bold face font as opposed to the margins.

Consider the breakaway success of Fresh Off The Boat. The story of Eddie Huang, the food kingpin, growing up in Orlando during the most critically incredible time in hip hop. A Chinese-Taiwanese American, Huang’s story (loosely based on the memoir of the same name) follows Eddie and his family through the strange suburban streets of Orlando with an essential hip hop soundtrack. It’s the first series since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl to feature an Asian American family in the narrative. I know a lot of Asian American kids who’s stories I’d never seen on screen; we’d grown up together so I know their lives but it’s fascinating to think that as a minority in a minority, your own image doesn’t resonate at all. Asian kids were always the mathletes, goofy swagger- less immigrant, the punching bag but the kids I know, they’re pretty fucking amazing. Jane The Virgin breaks the Hispanic stereotype and lead actress Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for it. We are coming full circle, we are coming to a point where the former, the ignored, the disenfranchised are finding themselves in positions of power and are wisely growing from it. TV and media are powerful forces for change, for conversation and for visibility.

Everybody deserves to have some form of their story told in some medium. They need to know they are important to what makes the human experience and if they don’t see themselves, they should be more than encouraged to create the images that they want to see, that they should see and should be seen.

You are visible, you matter, you count.

Agent Carter: The Best Show You’re Not Watching

Despite having been a key player in the creation of a covert government agency that easily recruits an all star superhero roster, there are no superheroes in the eight episode mid-season series Agent Carter because SHE is the superhero.

my baby shot me dead

Taking place a year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, and following the Iron-Man 3 one shot, ABC’s Agent Carter follows Peggy as she navigates a post World War II work force, continuing her work with the SSR but at a smaller capacity.

Like getting lunch orders.

She’s a really athletically gifted coffee girl.

Taking a page from the world built by Mad Men (predating it by a decade) this world explores how difficult it has been for women to have given their all in the war effort only to be asked to return to their proper stations as homemakers. Peggy, in continuing her work, challenges the leadership at every turn, cracking cases before her fellow agents can even open up a notepad to jot a few leads down. Episode one has her contacted by Howard Stark (Tony Stark’s father. Yes. Iron-Man’s dad) to assist with getting to the bottom of a mysterious grand theft of some of his dangerous inventions. Peggy hesitantly agrees to help, seeing as she’s pretty much over being ignored in the work place and she becomes a double agent.

It’s been nearly ten years since the last female led spy series aired on ABC (Alias) and about two years since the last episode of the Maggie Q lead spy series reboot Nikita (which also starred Lyndsy Fonseca currently playing Angie Martinelli) and while shows like Scandal and The Good Wife give us kick ass, cerebral women, it also bogs them down with the trappings of romance as a plot device. The leads are buried by their romantic triangle of the season more often than the crime of the week. For example, in one episode of Scandal Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope will have traded more barbs with an ex faster than she would trade blows; she verbosely batters her foes with whip smart dialogue, you immediately wish you’d paid more attention in English class. It’s wonderful, really, but sometimes viewers just want a girl who’ll happily bludgeon you with her heel instead of speaking to you because you’re stupid. A character like Pope can work in a world like Peggy’s easily; honestly, I WANT them to have some insane crossover where Olivia uncovers old SSR documents and…wait…back off, that’s my script.

Hey girl, you’re strong and powerful up until a dude charms you a little bit by saying he’s not intimated by how powerful you are.

 

While it’s great to have smart, sexually confident women on television, it’s much better to have a woman who isn’t trapped within the confines of a relationship that potentially defines her almost every week. Watching someone like Peggy punch a man into unconsciousness is pleasing. Watching her use objects around her for the same effect is also pleasing. This show is pleasing. Hayley Atwell is pleasing.

Bye Felipe

 

Atwell shines as the title character, dropping dudes as easily as she drops one-liners. Debuting in the aforementioned Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter was that girl; the one  you immediately wanted to be friends with, the one who took no shit and the one with flawless lipstick game. Peggy, despite the smaller piece of the larger puzzle, has a knack for seeing the things that ultimately shape her destiny. She saw the potential for Steve Rodgers’ candidacy before the rest of the scientists did; she saw in him something, because of her gender, made him a bigger asset than she was to the cause. Just imagine if the team saw in her what everyone saw in Steve and she became a super soldier. HEY GET AWAY FROM MY SCRIPT.

While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (that’s a pain in the ass to type) struggled in the first half of the series to establish characters worth caring about (I care mightily for Agent May and Agent Coulson) and to find it’s footing as it launched in the wake of The Avengers and Captain America, Agent Carter immediately gave viewers a reason for investment; it was the backstory TO AoS that was designed to use Carter and her Amanda Waller type of influence in the creation of the Marvelverse as a whole.

If Marvel does this right, Agent Peggy Carter could be the backdrop introduction (albeit limited considering) to the early negotiations for more Vibranium with Wakanda (Black Panther) the research into cosmic defense with Dr. Steven Strange, ultimately recruiting a young Natasha Romanov  from the KGB once the Cold War is over. Peggy makes up for over 70 years of easy to cover story lines to bridge the comics, movies, Netflix series….she’s the Highlander. The One. Her work could be the nexus for everything in the Marvelspace and when you step back and look at the bigger picture, Marvel and ABC has to have the one nerd screaming in the halls about this very concept. We see her in The Winter Soldier and there are things said, things that make you have feelings.

Operation S.I.N, a mini series launched by Marvel January this year follows the further adventuring hijinks of Peggy Carter and science bro Howard Stark set in Europe. There are aliens.

And a bear getting punched.

What it looks like in my head all the time

 

Peggy, for the Marvelverse, is who Wonder Woman SHOULD be for DC. The nexus for good, a beacon of hope and the absolute measure by which the women who wind up in the various organizations hold themselves up to. Imagine young Jean Grey (I’m thinking silver age Marvel here but it also works for the Ultimate X-Men and various reboots etc) finding an old article about Peggy Carter while cleaning out a space in Xavier’s mansion. America Chavez (Young Avengers) wanting to be every bit the hero Peggy would’ve been had she been Captain America. I’m picturing Maria Hill’s goal in life was to helm a team as prolific as the Howling Commandos. Before she met lousy Ted Mosby.

Kids, in the summer of 2012 I met your mother

Kids, in the summer of 2012 I met your mother

Mockingbird on AoS

Mockingbird on AoS

Agent May on AoS

 

There’s a world of female heroes that can trace their ability to work in the comic book world back to Agent Carter.

Or Lady Sif.

Because you can’t pretend Sif wasn’t first.

Lady Sif in Thor: The Dark World

 

 

It’s also important to note that Agent Thirteen, Sharon Carter is……I can’t tell you that.

 

Sharon Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

As the show closed out it’s first season run, there was a bit of a glimmer of hope for it’s fate. With any good Marvel title, there is always that closing credits scene and (SPOILER KIDS)

 

 

Dr. Zola welcomes Dr. Faust to a jailhouse Hydra party.

 

 

SO.

 

My theory and hope is that Season 2 will revolve around Peggy’s growing ability to be taken seriously in the office (I mean, as serious as someone will take a woman in the office who punches like thunder) and the discovery of the Winter Soldier program. Consider that Peggy’s era for change would be at the height of the Cold War, during which time the shocking discovery of Bucky Barnes’ MIA status being upgraded to that of WE HAVE BUCKY WE’RE GONNA TURN HIM INTO A SUPER SOLDIER HAHAHA would more than likely be at the forefront of any engaging story. You can easily introduce a cadre of scientists that have actively shaped the Marvelverse being thwarted by Peggy, or even causing waves in other properties linked to their respective histories. I can see Peggy rolling her eyes at Dr. Strange all the while, hoping he can protect their current dimension. I can see Peggy watching the space program develop (completely, unfortunately, ignoring the Fantastic Four because..yeah…) but still being mindful of the ramifications of space exploration; she could have an entire research division that ultimately taps into Rhodes and Danvers’ space pilot program….

If given the chance to grow, Agent Carter could be one of the few shows on television with the foresight (and money) to successfully mine from their comic book resources, connect the MCU to the books and vice versa; Peggy as the earliest Director of SHIELD essentially creates the world we love now.

Don’t you see kids?!

Peggy motherfuckin Carter is comic books badass grandma.

I’m sorry Aunt May…

 

Nobody fresher than my clique